Understanding Physical Activity Motivation and Behavior Through Self-Determination and Servant Leadership Theories in a Feasibility Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Despite its well-established benefits, physical activity engagement is low in the adult population; evidence suggests that this is especially a concern for women >60 years. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the feasibility of a 6-week randomized control trial of self-determination theory-based dance and walking programs for older women. Primary outcomes were feasibility measures: recruitment, retention, and satisfaction. Secondary outcomes included self-reported physical activity, behavioral regulations, and psychological needs. Thirty-five women completed the study (M = 62.8 ± 4.8 years), representing 39% recruitment and 95% retention rate. Both programs were highly attended. Exploratory effect sizes for secondary measures were promising. Emergent themes highlighted the importance of servant leadership concepts in the group setting for motivating physical activity. Our findings provide support for expanding this trial to a full-scale study.

Gray, Wharf Higgins, and Rhodes are with the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Samantha M. Gray at graysam@uvic.ca.
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